Mothers’ perception of the use of banked human milk for feeding of the infants
Background: Human breast milk is the most healthful form of milk for human babies. Every infant deserves the best possible start in life in terms of nutrition by breastfeeding or receiving donated human milk. Breast milk is very important for the infant’s growth and well-being that the non-availability of the mother should not deprive the infant from its benefits. To enhance the availability and use of human breast milk for hospitalized babies whose mothers may not have enough milk, there is the need to embark on human milk banking.
Objective: To determine the perception of mothers towards breast milk banking in Benin City, Nigeria.
Subjects and Methods: The study subjects included 198 mothers who brought their babies to Well Baby/Immunization Clinic of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Benin City, Nigeria. A structured researcheradministered questionnaire was used to assess their biodata, awareness and perception of breast milk banking.
Results: The mean age of the mothers was 29.8 ± 5.5 years with 46.5% having some form of tertiary education and 48.5% having secondary education. Only 51 (25.8%) of them had heard of breast milk banking; source of information being mainly from health workers (43.1%) and from friends (27.5%). Majority 168 (84.8%) of the mothers would not give their babies human milk donated by another nursing mother mainly because of fear of transmission of infections/diseases. Most 105 (53.0%) were also unwilling to donate breast milk to be used for other babies due to the fact that they disliked the idea (51.4%) and because of fear of not having enough for their own babies (16.1%). However, most (59.1%) strongly agreed that human milk banking would help assist mothers in need, orphans and abandoned babies.
Conclusion/Recommendation: The awareness of human milk banking and its acceptance among mothers in Benin City is poor. The current findings strongly justify the need for public enlightenment on human milk banking and its benefits.
Key words: Breast milk banking, mothers, Perception